Monday, March 21, 2011

Listening...Nick Hornby's Slam

My options for audio are so much narrower than my other reading choices. I go through the libraries, book stores, Ollie's, Tuesday Mornings, anywhere I might get an audiobook for no more than the regular price of a book. I was pleased to discover that Cracker Barrel (which has a great borrowing program at a minimal cost) has finally upgraded to CD and unabridged books.

On my recent trip to Nashville, I made a special stop at the bookstore in the Tanger Outlet where I'd scored some really good ones for under ten bucks last year. I picked up Nick Hornby's Slam, among others. After having enjoyed Juliet, Naked, I thought this one might be fun too.

Although the protagonist is a teenager turning from fifteen to sixteen, I wouldn't exactly all this a YA novel. At first I wasn't sure if I'd get into the story abouta skater (because only a dweeb would call himself a skateboarder) who talks to his Tony Hawk poster. And TH answers him--or at least seems to. The answers come directly from the (only) famous skateboarder's autobiography

Sam was born when his own mother was 16. So when he learns on his own sixteenth birthday that his girlfriend Alicia is pregnant, he has a lot to discuss with Tony Hawk. Maybe I am a sucker for a British accent (It does make the story more interesting. I don't know why), but I found myself becoming more and more engrossed in the story, which was funny, sad, touching, and thought-provoking. The difference in age and social class between Sam's mom and Alicia's parents adds to the conflict--and at times, the humor.

The author--or Hawk--sends Sam on a couple of time travels into the near future (where he doesn't know his own son's name)--the source of much tension and discomfort--but cleverly handled.

The book might be great extracurricular reading for a high school abstinence-based sex ed course (since Sam decides he'll probably NEVER be interested in sex again, once he's made one big life-changing mistake). I don't expect to see the book on the Accelerated Reader list at the local middle school any time soon.

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